Does the November share price for Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. (NYSE:BNED) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.
Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Step by step through the calculation
We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second 'steady growth' period. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren't available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||-US$20.2m||US$29.3m||US$44.1m||US$59.9m||US$75.4m||US$89.5m||US$101.7m||US$112.0m||US$120.6m||US$127.8m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 50.61%||Est @ 36.02%||Est @ 25.8%||Est @ 18.65%||Est @ 13.64%||Est @ 10.14%||Est @ 7.68%||Est @ 5.97%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 10%||-US$18.3||US$24.1||US$32.8||US$40.5||US$46.2||US$49.7||US$51.2||US$51.1||US$49.9||US$48.0|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$375m
The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at a future annual growth rate equal to the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 2.0%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 10%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$128m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (10%– 2.0%) = US$1.6b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$1.6b÷ ( 1 + 10%)10= US$587m
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is US$962m. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$9.4, the company appears quite good value at a 49% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Valuations are imprecise instruments though, rather like a telescope - move a few degrees and end up in a different galaxy. Do keep this in mind.
We would point out that the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate and of course the actual cash flows. You don't have to agree with these inputs, I recommend redoing the calculations yourself and playing with them. The DCF also does not consider the possible cyclicality of an industry, or a company's future capital requirements, so it does not give a full picture of a company's potential performance. Given that we are looking at Barnes & Noble Education as potential shareholders, the cost of equity is used as the discount rate, rather than the cost of capital (or weighted average cost of capital, WACC) which accounts for debt. In this calculation we've used 10%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.902. Beta is a measure of a stock's volatility, compared to the market as a whole. We get our beta from the industry average beta of globally comparable companies, with an imposed limit between 0.8 and 2.0, which is a reasonable range for a stable business.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Barnes & Noble Education, we've put together three additional aspects you should look at:
- Risks: Every company has them, and we've spotted 4 warning signs for Barnes & Noble Education you should know about.
- Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for BNED's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
- Other Solid Businesses: Low debt, high returns on equity and good past performance are fundamental to a strong business. Why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals to see if there are other companies you may not have considered!
PS. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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